Thank you for enabling religious military worship!

Dear Mr. Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation,

 

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

– Spock, Star Trek, The Wrath of Kahn (1982).

“We do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”

– Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, McCreary Co. v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005).

 

1. I cannot thank the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (‘MRFF”) enough for the expedient, professional, and confidential manner in which you recently advocated on behalf of myself on other military families who were denied the right to practice our religious beliefs.

2. As an Air Force chaplain, I was disturbed when guidance from higher headquarters set forth standards that established a Protestant worship service as the only permissible service at a certain official military family event. The regulation upset many military families—primarily Catholic families—who felt excluded from the event. Unfortunately, all were fearful of utilizing the chain of command; no doubt due to prior negative experience. I contacted the only people whom I was certain could help. I called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

3. Years ago, I voiced a concern to a senior chaplain about a regulation that placed an unnecessary burden on Catholic couples who wanted to marry at the base chapel. The senior chaplain, a colonel, told me that “the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few,” a line from the movie Star Trek. When I voiced my concerns about the most recent discriminatory provision at the military family program to Mr. Weinstein, he quoted a Supreme Court Justice who stated “we don’t count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”

4. When faced with a Constitutional issue, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation quoted the United States Supreme Court; the colonel quoted Star Trek. When faced with a First Amendment issue, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation cited seminal jurisprudence; the colonel cited a movie.

5. I cannot adequately express the speed, confidentiality, and efficacy of the MRFF’s work. Within hours after notifying Mr. Weinstein of the discriminatory regulation, MRFF sprung into action.  That very same day, a four-star general initiated an investigation into the offending guideline, which ultimately rescinded the instruction and resolved the issue in an amicable, favorable, and confidential manner.

6. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation certainly promotes the constitutional right to be free from religion. But what many do not realize is that the MRFF equally promotes the right to practice religion. The regulation at issue predominantly affected Christian families who did not belong to the majority Protestant denomination. The Military Religious Freedom defends the worship rights of those without a voice. Thank you for reminding me that “we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment!”

Sincerely,

Chaplain, USAF (name, rank, location withheld)

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